Cops smash kombi windscreens

Police have barred commuter omnibuses from passing through the city centre and are smashing windscreens of those vehicles caught picking or dropping passengers.

Commuter omnibus packed at designated pick up point in the city.
Commuter omnibus packed at designated pick up point in the city.

The police say the move, which has resulted in a cat-and-mouse game with kombi drivers, is meant to decongest the city and eliminate illegal pick-up points. Since last week there has been heavy deployment of traffic police officers wielding baton sticks and logs, ready to pounce on defiant drivers.

“Two police officers destroyed my vehicle’s windscreen at the 6th Avenue Extension. I was coming from Masvingo and I was not aware of the exercise. Police officers are supposed to protect people’s property and not destroy it. I will definitely sue them for damaging my property,” said David Mwanza, a commuter omnibus driver.

Another kombi driver, Marvellous Ncube, said he has now resorted to pick up passengers at secluded places to avoid the police.

“The problem is that we do not have enough designated places in the city. The police want us to drop our clients two kilometres away from town. That is impossible. The solution is simple. We need more legal pick-up and drop-off points in the city,” said Ncube.

He accused the cops of being overzealous. “We need to engage each other with the police and the city council over this issue. This heavy-handedness from the police will not solve the problem because people will simply counter their actions,” he said.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Lizwe Jamela said it was illegal for the police to damage windscreen of motorists.

“What the police are doing is malicious damage to property. There is no law in the country which empowers the police to destroy the property of anyone even that of an accused person. If any offence has been committed the officers should arrest the culprits and let the course of justice follow,” said Jamela.

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